For managers, getting the most out of your team without pushing people beyond their limits involves:
- Creating a positive environment where staff feel valued, supported and engaged
- Tapping into employee strengths – helping staff identify their strengths and then crafting jobs and allocating work so they can use those strengths on a daily basis
- Taking an active responsibility for developing staff – when staff are learning, growing and developing, they’re more likely to be engaged, and when staff are engaged, they’re more energised, effective, innovative and productive.
Managers who are confident and competent in using coaching to develop staff can facilitate huge gains in productivity and performance. So what does it mean to take a coaching approach to management and leadership?
Be a Facilitator of Development
Firstly it means viewing your role as fundamentally a facilitator of staff growth and development. It’s not enough to be a technical expert, scheduler of work or problem solver. If you are responsible for managing people, your job inherently involves working out the best ways to help them achieve their full potential. And that means more than sending them off to a formal training course once in a while. Adopting a coaching approach means viewing everyone as having greater potential, and turning day to day conversations, interactions and experiences into opportunities for staff to learn, grow and develop.
Ask Don’t Tell
Most managers and leaders are trained to solve problems. In fact, when you think about it, what do we habitually do when our children, partners, friends and colleagues share a problem or challenge with us? We automatically go straight into ‘fix-it’ mode. We offer advice, tell people what to do, or even take over the problem. But telling people what to do, and imposing our own solutions on others, is dis-empowering. Staff learn to wait for others to solve problems, gradually eroding their sense of worth and autonomy and their willingness to use initiative or take risks.
When you ask the right kind of questions
– what are your options?
– what have you tried?
– which course of action to you think would be best?
– what support do you need to resolve the issue?
you help your staff gain insight and awareness about their challenge, facilitate them finding their own solution to the problem, and generate engagement and commitment to the action or change that’s required.
Create Solution-Focused Mindsets
We all love to talk about our problems, and as managers, we need to give staff some opportunity to download. But spend too long focused on problems, and pretty quickly frustration, blame and resentment can lead to a downward spiral of negativity and inertia. Managers who coach learn to ask questions which help staff see the challenge from a different perspective, and to start looking for possible options and solutions. Not only does this lead to effective actions and changes, but a mindset and culture develops in which challenges and problems are seen not as obstacles, but as opportunities to learn.
This has been a very brief introduction to how developing a coaching approach to management can impact on you and your team achieving your full potential. There are some great books and training courses around, so get in touch if you’d like to know more. Why not book in for a short series of coaching sessions yourself, to experience first-hand the power of coaching to improve your own personal effectiveness and well-being?
Call or email me to discuss how individual coaching can unlock personal efficiency for you or your team members.